“It’s Not GREek!” Asks Graduate Schools: What’s a Good Score on the New GRE?

In the upcoming months, “It’s Not GREek!” will be interviewing graduate school admissions officers and individual departments to find out what is a good score on the new GRE.  This week, we spoke with the Admissions Coordinator of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Texas-Austin.

Average GRE scores of applicants admitted to the program:

Old GRE:     570 (verbal)      780 (math)      4.0 (writing)
New GRE:   155* (verbal)    165* (math)
* preliminary estimates

Q: Did you receive more new GREs or old GREs?
A: Twice as many applicants submitted with the old GRE Scores than with the new one; we received about ⅔ old scores and ⅓ new scores.

Q: How did you compare new GRE scores to old GRE scores?
A: We were given a conversion table by ETS that converted the new scores and showed their equivalency to the old ones.

Q: When will you stop accepting old GREs?
A: I don’t think we have plans at this moment to do that.  As long as it’s an official score, we’re going to recognize that.  Because of the fact that ETS holds on to scores for a period of 5 years, I guess after 4 years from now all scores would be normalized with the new version.  I anticipate for now we will still accept the old version as long as it’s an official score.

Q: Are the quantitative, verbal or writing scores more important for your program? Why?
A: They’re both equally important; I wouldn’t say one is more important than the other.  Even though it’s an engineering program, it’s really been stressed that applicants should be able to communicate.  So at least when it comes to the technical writing requirement that comes with the degree, all three sections are valued equally.

Q: How heavily do GRE scores weigh in your admissions decision? Do you consider other factors? If so, what are they?
A: It’s not going to weigh any more than anything else, whether an individual criterion or personal essay or recommendation or research or work experience.  Each of those individual things that comes as part of the application I’d have to say are treated equally.  If there’s anything that’s probably more important it’s the academic record and GPA.

Q: Could you give a profile of a typical entering candidate?
A: Well, I’d say for a successful candidate they would probably have at least 2 years of work experience, at least one publication, and their GPA is a 3.5.  Their recommendations are all form academic professors who would give us the indication that they’d have success in graduate school based on their grades, their experience, and their proclivity for research activities.

Check back soon for more information on what qualifies as a good score on the new GRE!